Curt Schilling tackled a couple of hot topics on WEEI radio Friday: the David Ortiz-Dan Shaughnessy PED controversy and the Clay Buchholz ball-sliming scandal.
On the David Ortiz matter, Schilling backs his former teammate and knocks Shaughnessy for once again trying to insert himself into the news. “Because it’s as important for him to be a part of the story as it is to write the story,” Schilling said. “And players have a problem with that.”
He also talks about steroids in general and again states how he never knew how big of a problem it was a problem in his prime years. He believes the testing program now is much better than ever before, and he can’t resist taking a dig at another former teammate:
I do believe that including bloodwork was a game-changer. Here’s what I would say now: Now if you get caught, you’re either Manny Ramirez dumb or you’re going to such extremes to try and cheat and beat a blood test that you deserve whatever they throw at you. It’s obviously not going to stop everybody. But when the players’ association, rightfully so, agreed to include blood testing, that was a game-changer for me. It was something that I never ever thought the Players Association would approve or be OK with. But God bless them, they did.
On the subject of Buchholz and foreign substances, Schilling admitted that he used BullFrog sunscreen, too:
Here’s the thing: I did it. And I did it for the same reasons Clay did it. I would tell you there is no ballpark harder to grip a baseball in than the SkyDome [Rogers Centre]. It is the hardest and the driest environment — for me it was — in the big leagues. I had no saliva, I had cotton mouth in that stadium all the time. You needed something, and it was to keep a grip. You can’t cheat by getting an extra grip on the ball. That’s not how you cheat. You cheat by getting the ball moist and wet. If that was what Clay was trying to do, he would have been doing the opposite of what he actually did. You want the ball to be slick. You want it to be almost like — not spit, but water. He was actually using that stuff to keep a grip.
Jerry Spar has a lengthier transcript with more Schilling quotes over at WEEI.com, along with a link to the interview audio.
Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.
Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.
In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.
The number of people who, if you held a gun to their head, would say that “Rex Brothers” was a game show host and/or local TV news personality from the late 1970s or early 80s is not insignificant. But if you’re a Rockies fan or if spend all day thinking about baseball you know that he’s a reliever who has played in Colorado for the past five years. Now you know him as a reliever for the Cubs:
Brothers — a former Best Shape of His Life All-Star — was pretty good until he hit a brick wall in 2014 and spent most of 2015 in Triple-A. He had something of a bounceback after being called up when rosters expanded in September, but that’s not the sort of thing to excite anyone. He could be useful for the Cubs or just spring training cannon fodder and organizational depth.
Cabrera just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and pitched a grand total of 14 games in the Dominican Summer League. He’s young and was a $250,000 signee from the Dominican as a 16-year-old so, by definition, he’s a project. Worth giving up Rex Brothers for him if you’re the Rockies, worth risking for some depth in the pen if you’re the Cubs.
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.
Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.
He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.
Jed Lowrie, who was traded from the Astros to the A’s in 2013 and then re-signed with the Astros as a free agent last offseason, has now been traded back to the A’s.
Lowrie got a three-year, $23 million deal from the Astros with the idea that he’d play shortstop in the first season and then move to another position whenever stud prospect Carlos Correa arrived. Instead he got hurt right away, Correa became an immediate star, and the Astros weren’t so keen on paying him $15 million over the next two seasons.
He could resume playing shortstop for the A’s, who watched rookie Marcus Semien make an absurd number of errors there this year. Lowrie hit .271 with a .738 OPS in two seasons in Oakland, which is similar to his career totals and makes him a solidly above-average offensive shortstop. There’s a decent chance the A’s will have a Lowrie-Lawrie double-play duo in 2016.
In return the Astros get minor leaguer Brendan McCurry, a 24-year-old right-hander who split 2015 between high Single-A and Double-A with a 1.86 ERA and 82/17 K/BB ratio in 63 relief innings. He was a 22nd-round draft pick in 2014 and doesn’t have exceptional raw stuff, but McCurry’s numbers are incredible so far.